Responding to Nicola Sturgeon’s speech to NHS Scotland today (Friday 22 June), Richard Simpson MSP, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Public Health said:

“Nicola Sturgeon is good at claiming credit for the good news the NHS but never takes responsibility for when it goes wrong.

“In her speech to the health service, Nicola Sturgeon failed to outline any detailed vision for the NHS under the SNP and avoided addressing the problems that she and the SNP government have caused.

“She offered no apology for cutting the NHS budget, cutting nurses and midwives at a rate ten times higher than in England, NHS officials fiddling waiting-list figures, patients being treated with a lack of dignity and poor trauma care.

“As time goes on, it is clear that the NHS in Scotland is not safe in SNP hands.”


Speaking after his question in FMQs today regarding the day of action by members of the BMA, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, said:

“It is very regrettable that the Scottish Government have not engaged with the BMA with enough vigour to get a Scottish solution to this affair.

“In England Andrew Lansley already announced well in advance of the industrial action how many operations and outpatient appointments that will be cancelled and diagnostic tests delayed, but here in Scotland we did not know until today and then only when the Deputy First minister was asked.

“The BMA remain deeply concerned that the health boards have not notified all affected patients. Yet the Cabinet Secretary stated that Health Boards had complied. They cannot both be correct

“This action is not welcome and we would hope that Nicola Sturgeon would have played a more proactive role in working with the BMA in at least better informing the public, as patients will be the ones who suffer most from this failing on both sides. Both sides should get back around the table and resolve this matter urgently.”


©Iain McLean/cystic fibrosis trust

Richard Simpson MSP, Labour representative for Mid Scotland and Fife had their lung function tested to see how their result compared with someone with Cystic Fibrosis to highlight the devastating impact of the disease.

The event, held on 16th May organised by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, indicated to parliamentarians first hand how Cystic Fibrosis damages the lungs. The average lung capacity for an adult with Cystic Fibrosis is just 65.1% compared to someone without Cystic Fibrosis that would achieve results of 80% or more.  Mr Simpson achieved 97% on their spirometry test coming in 10th place amongst their fellow MSPs.

Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive disease with the average age of death for a person with CF of around 29 years old.  Despite this, because of advances in treatment and access to clinical expertise, many people with CF are living longer than ever before.

Richard Simpson MSP said:

“I am delighted to attend the event to show my support for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Having my lung function tested has shown me how much more effort people with CF have to make just to take a breath. I can see how arduous the burden of treatment is to try to stop lung function from declining. It highlighted to me just what a battle it is living with this condition that claims two young lives a week”.

Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common inherited conditions, affecting over 9,000 babies, children and adults. CF is caused by a faulty gene that causes the lungs, digestive system and pancreas clogging them with a thick sticky mucus.

Claire Francis, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the CF Trust said:

“Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that is difficult to comprehend as people with the condition can look healthy and active. Through our events in and around Cystic Fibrosis Week 2012 we hope to show politicians how the disease affects the body and how important daily treatment and expert care is to help people live longer lives and improve their quality of life.

“People with Cystic Fibrosis don’t get a second chance once the damage is done. Providing the best quality of care is crucial to maintaining lung function.

Indeed, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust is aware of worrying trends that amount to real-time cuts to Cystic Fibrosis services across the UK – to specialist nursing, physiotherapy and dietetics – that risk stalling the amazing progress that has been made. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we are calling on the Scottish Government to ensure Cystic Fibrosis services are adequately resourced with appropriate bed capacity suitable for people with Cystic Fibrosis”.

Cystic Fibrosis Week, which runs each year from the end of April to 1st week in May. More information can be found at